August 16, 2018 — Delaware Business TImes — After more than four years of planning, construction will begin in the coming months on the first new homes at the Fort DuPont Complex in Delaware City. It’ll be the latest and most concrete sign of what developers are hoping will be a massive redevelopment project along the Delaware River.
With a grand vision that includes a 120-slip marina, 150-room hotel and about 400 new homes, the 400-acre complex has natural advantages. The property dates back to the Civil War and offers some of the last undeveloped riverside views in the state.
From a development perspective, it has another major advantage: The Fort DuPont Redevelopment & Preservation Corp. was gifted all of the land and buildings by the state. This allows the corporation to offer lower prices by removing land costs from the equation.
But the project has a potential downside, as well, with the historic property sitting on a 100-year floodplain.
Jeffrey Randol, the redevelopment commission’s executive director, said the plan is to create a “mini Holland,” with a series of earthen barriers at an estimated cost of between $2.5 million and $3 million. Funded by a combination of grants and proceeds from land sales, the levees are being designed to accommodate about
100 years of sea level rise, using a midrange projection.
These embankments will not protect the whole site. Over the past two years, about $800,000 worth of dirt has been brought in to raise a large section of the property out of the floodplain.
About $6 million in state funds have been spent at the site so far, with millions left to go. Total construction spending is estimated at $211 million over seven years, with spending peaking in 2020 and 2021.
“A lot is going to happen over the next five years,” Randol said.